Daily Topics - Friday March 5th 2010

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Comments

Quark (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#1

Pawlenty Pees on Minnesota Again

It was announced today that Minnesota did not receive any of the Obama Administration "Race to the Top" education grants for which it had applied. The Department of Education was looking for suggestions for creative improvement in the state's education system.

Pawlenty's education dept. staffers only offered lackluster teachers' union bashing (in effect) which called for "expanding the state's teacher merit-pay program and basing teacher evaluations more squarely on student test scores, ideas the Obama administration supports but unions consider troublesome."

THE PAWLENTY ADMINISTRATION OFFERED NO CREATIVE IDEAS WHICH WOULD HELP STUDENTS. Pawlenty is blaming the teachers' union for failure to receive the grant because of the union's objections to the proposals.

Of course, Pawlenty and state Repugs. are trying additional tactics legislatively to weaken teachers' unions:

http://www.startribune.com/local/86366287.html?page=2&c=y

Wouldn't this guy make a GREAT President? NOT!

Gerald Socha (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#2

I would like to share with you an experience. I do not know how many times you have gone for a job interview. I recall one interview. While I was in the interview, the person who would do the hiring said to me that cream rises to the top. Those words are truisms but why mention it during the interview?

A week or so passed before I received my rejection letter. At least I was given the courtesy of a letter. Today, such letters are no longer sent.

After the rejection letter arrived, I gave some thought to the words, “Cream rises to the top.” These words were on my mind for several months until I had a new experience.

As I was on the toilet having a mother load of all mother loads, I stood up to see whether or not I would be able to flush the toilet without the need of a plunger. I noticed that some turds were floating on top of the water. Let me say that there are cases when shit rises to the top as well.

We need to only look at the turds in Washington, D.C. to realize that these turds are running our lunatic asylums and they rose to the top. Cream does not always rise to the top because Washington, D.C. is a perfect example of shit rising to the top.

As a side note Americans must stop their wanton appetite in the killing of God’s children. Americans have an insatiable taste for human blood.

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#3

Well, I'm feeling flushed.

Mugsy (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#4

Thom,

Once Congress faces up to the fact that the GOP will NEVER support ANYTHING that Democrats support, it SHOULD BE SEEN AS EXTREMELY LIBERATING.

No longer worrying about convincing Republicans to get onboard and do what's right, Democrats should be passing HCR with a STRONG Public Option, passing STRONG financial reform and a Consumer Protection Agency, then let the chips fall where they may.

If the results are good, Democrats will be rewarded in November (and obstructionist Republicans punished).

But as things currently stand, we face a likely crippled HCR "reform" that isn't, and a Financial Reform that helps no one. No improvement means Democrats will suffer in November as voters blame incumbents for the lack of progress.

ProgressiveMews (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#5

"...said one attendee, Obama pointed Kucinich toward single-payer language that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was able to get into the bill. Kucinich fought for an amendment that would allow states to adopt single-payer systems without getting sued by insurance companies. Obama told Kucinich that Sanders's measure was si...milar but doesn't kick in for several years. 'He definitely wrote it down,' said one member of Kucinich, suggesting that he'd look into it."

Thank you Bernie!!!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/04/obama-to-progressives-thi_n_486...

Mark K (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#6

It doesn’t surprise me that a blue dog like Rep. Gene Taylor would call on Obama to pull out of NAFTA in six months, since scapegoating our “friends and neighbors” is always a useful tool for both the right and the left to score political points with people looking for scapegoats. I regard people like Taylor as craven and imprudent, because with NAFTA we have the closest thing to a real “free trade” agreement that benefits all concerned to varying degrees, while our trade with the rest of world can hardly be characterized as such. NAFTA does have its faults, one presumes, but some of them benefit the U.S., such as tariffs on Mexican produce. Mexico and Canada actually absorb more of our exports in relation to their consumer capacity to do so while we absorb much less of their exports in terms of our capacity. The real and alleged manufacturing jobs we have lost to Mexico has been excessively overstated for propaganda purposes, and if we decided to scrap NAFTA without addressing our trade issues with countries like China, India or any of the other countries that we “freely” import from but allow to block our exports, than we can expect a much worse trade situation to develop. Whatever manufacturing we have lost (or alleged to have lost) to Mexico or Canada will simply go someplace else overseas while we may lose the markets we gained from our now antagonized neighbors, and “help” to further destabilize the situation on our borders. What the U.S. has to do, instead of bemoaning what it has lost, is to regain its technological and inventiveness edge and rebuild from there.

Also, last Wednesday USA Today featured on its front page a story concerning how this year’s census (I haven’t received a census form myself yet) will be “different” because it will give people greater “flexibility” on how they choose to define themselves, namely people of mixed race. But this seems to me a way to deliberately dilute the impact of the minority presence, particularly since many people who are part-white have this notion of being “superior” over the “others,” and don’t want to lumped in with “them.” Reality for these people is hard to face; it doesn’t matter what they think, it only matters what white people think. If white people don’t think you are white, you’re not. Tough luck. Barack Obama mother was white, but white America sees him as he has chosen to see himself: Black.

Rick in Canadia (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#7

Thom, Sen. Sanders,
In Canada we have just had our latest budget brought down by our embattled neo-cons trying to hold onto power.
Funny, seems you have also been governed by a Conservative Minority Government. I hope both their days in power are numbered.

The budget is basically holding on hoping that our relatively good economic position with regulated banks etc. will allow enough growth to make them look good. They really just avoided doing anything that would get them turfed out right now. I don't trust them, we have a great phrase here; 'lack of confidence', but I will give them credit for one positive tax measure.

I haven't looked into it in detail and I'm sure the well heeled will have ways around it soon, but the new budget restricts some of the stock option loopholes for CEOs etc.
You can search 'Globeandmail' for 'Ottawa closes stock option tax loophole'

theglobeandmail.com/news/nat ... le1488229/

This is really just making it either a write-off for the company or a capital gains break for the CEO instead of both.. but it is a start and surprising from a Conservative Government..

It leads to something I have thought of for a long time for your system or ours.
Earned income gets treated differently for different people in our tax systems. Capital gains is treated differently, allowing the wealthy to pay lower taxe rates than the wage-earners.

Why not treat different sources of capital gains differently as well?
If you make money on the sale of your family home, fine. If you buy stocks and hold them a while before selling at a profit, sure.
If, however, you get stock options as a way to defer your income and flip them for an instant profit, maybe the tax rate should be more like what you would have paid for an actual salary.

I'm sure there would be cries of too much complexity but that will always be the case and along with realistic social security, medicare and other health-care contribution bythe higher income taxpayers, any steps would help.

So, what about a scale of taxes on capital gains?
Cheers,
Rick

rewinn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#8

The "Unemployed Party" http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=344143284642&ref=mf is an idea: let unemployed people get together and work for our common interests.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#9
Penny Ryan (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#10

President Obama should challenge the Senate and Congress to drop their health care until the American people get a health care plan. He should also drop his health care to show his solidarity with the the uninsured.

Carl Ryan

Gerald Socha (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#11

Here are two paragraphs from a recent Paul Craig Roberts recent article.

We are screwed again!!!

Bernanke's warning to Congress is his way of adding Federal Reserve pressure to that of Wall Street and former Treasury Secretary Paulson for Congress to balance the budget by gutting Social Security and Medicare. In case you haven't noticed, no one in Washington or New York talks about cutting trillion dollar wars or trillion dollar handouts to rich bankers. They only talk about taking things away from little people. It is not the Bush/Cheney, Obama, neocon wars that are in the cross hairs; it is Social Security and Medicare.

Other Obama economic officials, such as White House economist Larry Summers, a former Treasury secretary, have called for a middle class tax increase. The problem with this "solution" is that a good part of the middle class is now jobless and homeless.

Medicare and Social Security is out the door. Tax decreases for the rich are here forever but the middle class will have tax increases forever. - Gerald

Bert (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#12

Was very glad to hear of who the Canadian man that went to Miami for his heart surgery and why he did it there. Please stress more when talking to the "fearful Republicans" the deaths of the 45,000 who could not afford health care. That is where they should be fearful.

Don from Snohomish, WA (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#13

Given the million plus federal employees whose private health care insurance is subsidized through their employer (federal government), how much would the government save if there federal employees were taken off private insurance and allowed to buy into medicare? How about State and local governments?

Jeremiah (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#14

Someone mentioned that infant mortality is higher in our country as compared to others. For this reason, the so-called pro-lifers should be in favor of health care reform. If you want to outlaw abortion, why is it OK for the babies to die once they're out of the womb?

Speaking of abortion, if the Republicans believe that life starts at conception, and they're in favor of tax cuts, shouldn't a woman with a postive pregnancy test be able to claim an extra dependent on her taxes?

manbearpig (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#15

Does Thom actively ask members of Congress onto his show?

Bryan in Paddock Lake (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#16

@manbearpig: He does not do soft interviews, so most congress-critters won't come on his show - Brunch with Bernie is a regular Friday segment, and he occasionally has a few progressives on from Congress.

manbearpig (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#17

I once suggested to adam schiff's people that he do more interviews and they responded, "Hmm, interesting." I'm going to suggest they come on Thom's show.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#18

@Mugsy, re: "If the results are good, Democrats will be rewarded in November (and obstructionist Republicans punished)."

A major problem with this way of thinking is that it does not take into account the delay between the passage of a piece of legislation, and the time when the lives of We the People are actually affected by said legislation. It's far from immediate, and it's often YEARS before we truly know the full effect of new laws - i. e., the unintended consequences.

That's why it was important for Obama to get some good things done in his FIRST year in office, so that we would now be feeling at least the beginnings of their effects. Any new legislation passed by this Congress is not going to have much in the way of positive effect between now and November. What we WILL have, is the Becks, Limbaughs and Hannitys of the world standing on their bully pulpits and whining about the damage these new, (your favorite right-wing expletive here) laws passed by the Democrat party will do, with little in the way of progress for us to point out to refute their claims.

Mark K (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#19

For free-for-all Friday, I am observing that CNN’s tabloid news shouter Jane Velez-Mitchell likes to rage about the “war against women,” but back on the home front, the victims just can’t seem to play the part very well. There was an incident in a women’s NCAA basketball game Wednesday night between Baylor and Texas Tech in which a blond-haired white player deliberately, and for no apparent justification other than her defense being third-rate, grabbed the black player she was guarding by the arm and literally swung her around and let her “fly.” The AP story claimed that they “were battling for position near the lane before Barncastle (the white player) spun around and sent Griner (the black player) lunging toward the baseline.” But the actual video flatly contradicted this version of the incident. It was a punk move, and as she walked away with a punk’s arrogance, the obviously irritated Griner stepped forward and gave Barncastle a roundhouse right in the face, apparently breaking her nose. Now, I don’t think fistacuffs has a place on the basketball court, but the incident are also part and parcel of the racial undertones and petty egotisms that infuse women’s sports, such as in basketball starting at least at the high school level, which, of course, goes addressed by the sports media.

Bryan in Paddock Lake (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#20

I cringe every time I hear the joke that is termed "tort reform"! The only thing it's designed to do, contrary to the talking points, is to allow corporations to budget human harm and loss of life. A side benefit of tort reform, however, is to de-fund Democrats by capping the amount trial lawyers, generally a supporter of Democrats, can take as payment for their services.

rewinn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#21

@Thom - while McCain/Palin's lack of legal and constitutional KNOWLEDGE is important, of greater importance is their lack of CARING about the law and constitution. Oh, they talk a good game but they're happy to ignore the constitution when it suits their purpose ... or, rather, their masters' purpose.

A Legal Ethics teacher once told me, "I can't make you act ethically; it is enough that I teach you to know when what you want to do breaks the rules, and then you will make your decision."

mstaggerlee (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#22

Thom - I just wanted to let you know that I am one of the people you surmise the existence of - I'm over 55, I've lived a fairly simple life, avoided getting into debt, and have no heirs to leave anything to. I would GLADLY retire - right now! - if I could be assured that my wife and I could retain some affordable level of protection from medical calamity.

The way things are going these days, though, it looks like I'll be spending at least the next 10 years trying to hold a job that I'd rather not have, while somebody else's unemployment benefits lapse.

rewinn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#23

Who was that GREAT caller talking about "Economic Terrorists" with their IED "Instruments of Economic Destruction" and so forth? She should blog that so we can link and copy!!!

Peggy (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#24

Great article titled "Rise Up Vegan Republicnas" on Huff Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rich-karlgaard/rise-up-vegan-republicans_b...

Talks about uniting rather than further dividing! Even food is now considered a tribal division. Check it out!

Bryan in Paddock Lake (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#25

On Wednesday, there was a bizarre "report" (aka sales pitch for HSAs) on CNN on how "shopping" for health care "services" (such as a hernia surgery) can save you money ... why would I drive around to hospitals and "shop" for surgery like milk or jeans? I agree with Thom, being philosophically opposed to them (HSAs / HRAs combined with a high-deductible PPO-based coverage), but we use it too based on practicality.

moonbat666 (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#26

@Gerald, I hope you were talkimg about children killed in war. Morality does not come from any god or gods. The God of the Bible was a genocidal maniac that had his son with another man's wife, and then he had his son murdered in order to keep himself from sending the whole human race to hell. This son taught that any man who did not believe this ingnorance and priestly lying would go to hell and burn eternally in fire and brimstone . Do you rally believe any of this?

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#27

So, Ashburn blames the car! I assumed he would claim he was doing "research" on "the gay problem."

"I wanted to be a philosopher, but i couldn't pass the metaphysical." -harry ashburn (no relation to Roy Ashburn, that I know of.)

Jeremiah (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#28

One of the elements that Democrats want in health care legislation is an end to pre-existing conditions. So how WILL insurance companies be able to deny coverage? My guess is that they will use medical necessity to deny coverage, and that they will be the sole determining party in judging what constitutes medical necessity.

Unless congress passes a law saying that denials for any reason are illegal, insurance companies will continue to deny coverage and rake in the profits, especially if a mandate is passed with the bill.

rewinn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#29

HEY THOM --- just a detail ...
...B-52s didn't drop agent orange - smaller spray craft did that.

However your point is correct: B52s and other bombers killing civilians, and agent orange mutilating them, worked against our own interests (...quite apart from the whole moral thing ...)

Erlee Pennington (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#30

Dear Thom,

I am one of those 55 and over who would rather not work and retire but my family cannot afford to pay health insurance. I have a 16 year old son, and me and my husband will be 56 this year. My husband is diabetic and I have arthritis. I wish I do not have to work but I have to. My job is mostly physical and it is aggravating my pain but this is the only job I can find at this time. But the main reason I have to work is because of the health insurance benefit my job provides. Otherwise, I would rather stay home or find a job that is less physical even if it does not pay me much or provide health insurance, but just to keep me busy. If we have to pay for our insurance, it might cost us some $1500 a month or more. My husband is self employed now after he got laid off from work and with Cobra before I got employed, 4 years ago, we were paying $1300 a month on our premium.

We cannot afford not to have health insurance because of my diabetic husband but I cannot wait until I am 65, and does not have to work to have health insurance. But that's almost ten years of waiting for me and my pain is getting worst daily. I would not want to take prescription meds if I can, just OTC. I have no medical problems other than arthritis and seasonal allergies, and I am afraid taking prescription meds would only give side effects that will cause me to take more prescription drugs.

Sincerely,

Nels (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#31

In regards to the Pentagon shooter yesterday, has any here ever read 'Stand On Zanzibar'? If you have you'd know what I mean by saying this guy is a 'Mucker'. Excellent book, I highly recommend it. I'd put it on the level of 'Brave New World' 'Fahrenheit 451' or '1984'.

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#32

re: single-payer and young people: i would tell young people that, until I retired, i had dental coverage. Still, most of the time I couldn't bring myself to have the quarterly cleanings, although I did brush and floss.

Medicare doesn't cover dental. Since I retired, I've spent over $60,000 trying to save my teeth. So, i would tell this to a young person, and ask them to estimate how much it would cost them in 40 years to do the same. Or, do they want to wear dentures in their '40's?

rewinn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#33

@Nels - I totally recommend John Brunner's "Stand On Zanzibar". He wrote in the late 1960s and his forecast is pretty right on. The multilayered ending was especially sweet, in being both satisfying storywise but very thoughtful in terms of the problems posed .

I also loved some of his neologisms, e.g. "Hipcrime (n): You committed one when you opened this book. Keep it up. It's our only hope."

Bryan in Paddock Lake (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#34

Now that corporations are citizens according to the Supreme Court, can the insurance companies be tried for murder for killing people by denying them coverage?

Nels (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#35

Here's a substitute word for Socialist... Co-operatist.

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#36

@Bryan: yeah, and the corporate charter can be thrown in the pokey!

rewinn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#37

@Harry/Brian - "Three Strikes You're Out" laws should apply!!!

@Nels - "Cooperatist" is good, but how about "Team Player"?

Bryan in Paddock Lake (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#38

@harry: better yet, we should waterboard them like the Rethuglicans like to think is perfectly legal ;-)

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#39

topic: violence in Mexico. Now the Red Cross cant do their work. Wonder how conditions in Mexico would be right now if Calderon hadn't stolen the election from the people's candidate, Obrero?

Bryan in Paddock Lake (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#40

@rewinn: we should sign up the prison industry to get behind applying those laws!!!

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#41

@Bryan: wonder how long a piece of paper, like a corporate charter, would last under water-boarding? Do you look for water-marks for the truth?

Dave (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#42

the Regan 50 topic lead me to this site, reminding me of who is on my money.
http://www.biography.com/presidents/pres_whos_on_money.jsp

if you are gonna put Regan on a bill.. put him on the $100,000. not to honor him.. but to remind the middle class that because of him, this is something you are never going to see.

Nels (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#43

@rewinn so the 'Teamplayerist' movement?

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#44

@Dave - Reagan belongs on the $3 bill.

Dave (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#45

@harry - i used to have a fake Clinton $3 bill.. no lie.

Nels (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#46

Right to Health

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#47

@Dave: in that case, put Reagan on the $6!

Dave (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#48

@ Harry - How about the $6,66? (high five!)

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#49

@Dave: the Devil, you say!

Nels (not verified) 9 years 51 weeks ago
#50

@Dave and Harry, how about putting Regan on a $13 bill, we might even get Republicans to support it by convincing them its tying Regan to the original 13 colonies, and has nothing to do with crazy superstitions.

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